August 2009 - Posts - Yankee 2.0
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Yankee 2.0

August 2009 - Posts

  • Surprise career change

    It looks like half of my income/career is about to disappear. For the past few years, half of my income has come from the corporate training business that I own, and half has come from teaching at the local community college. The community college gig has been my rock, with the training business fluctuating in terms of income and busy-ness. Well, it looks like the teaching thing might not happen this semester -- which means half of my income will be gone, and I'll need to make up for it somehow. I will know definitely on Wednesday, but the enrollment is really really low, and the Dean has been leading me to believe that the classes won't run.  

    At first, I figured it would all work out (meaning enrollment would increase, and things would just keep trucking along), but now that I'm really faced with the prospect of that part of my professional life ending, I'm starting to panic a bit. I hope to get to the point of explaining "why I like failure" like Gary says he does in his post. I know things will work out one way or another, but right now it's slightly nerve-wracking to think that I need to change all my plans and figure out a way (in the middle of this big recession) to make up that income.... I don't like failure yet.

  • No more junk

    This year, I have gotten rid of a lot of junk. I look around my house now, and I see fewer things, but the things I see, I enjoy and value. I'm trying these days not to let anymore junk into my life. 

    What's some of the junk that has left my life in 2009? Damp, empty boxes that had sat in my basement for years "for when I sell things on ebay." Old paperwork that I no longer needed to keep. Clothes that didn't fit or had just worn out. Stuff I had duplicates of in the kitchen. Presents given to me that I never liked but was holding onto out of a sense of obligation to the giver. Lots and lots of junk left my life this year. And lots of stuff that wasn't junk at the level of an empty, damp cardboard box, but that I no longer had need of. I sold a bunch of stuff on CL, ebay, and at a tag sale -- made about $1,000 from selling things (!). I donated lots of things to thrift stores (the point of entry into my life of much of it to begin with). I gave things away on Freecycle. 

    I've bought some new things over the past few months, but they've been things I needed, and they haven't been junk. My preferred shopping places are still flea markets, tag sales, and thrift shops. But when in the past I would greedily load up my car with lots and lots of stuff, now I carefully consider any potential purchase. I've put lots of things down that I would have brought home before. Buying nothing, or buying one thing for $5.00 that is really precious, useful, and beautiful is much better than spending $20.00 on stuff just to have lots of stuff around. There is a much greater sense of peace in my house now. I've always hated clutter, and having all that junk (even if it was tastefully arranged, or hidden out of view in the basement) was definitely a form of clutter.

    I know that this new relationship to the things in my life is related to the new relationship that I've developed with money over the past few years. I never used to think I would get to this place. I feel mature! I feel like I'm in control of my material life -- money, clothing, things -- all the "stuff" is under my control, instead of me being unable to control spending, collecting things, having debt, and bill paying. I like it a lot better this way. 

    I still feel a sense of excitement when I see a tag sale sign or pull up to the flea market. But I can take a step back and examine what I really need or want, and it's much more easy to walk away. 

  • Should I leave my local bank?

    A while ago, I posted about an offer I got in the mail that would give me $75.00 if I opened a Bank of America checking account. I planned to do it, and just pocket the $75.00 and go back to my smaller local bank.

    I finally got around to doing it today, and I find that bad old Bank of America has a lot to offer, and now I'm thinking about leaving my small local bank and decamping to BoA. I'm ethically conflicted.

    My local bank recently went public, so it now answers to shareholders, presumably, more than customers. But, it's still a local bank, with about a dozen local branches. I like to support local businesses! I do! But.... here's what BoA has to offer: a money market savings account giving .85% interest right now (my passbook at the local bank is .025%); that "spare change" thing where they round up your debit purchases to the nearest dollar and put the change into that savings account -- plus they match it 100% for three months, then 50% (or something less) thereafter; and the ability to make transfers between accounts online; no fee for overdraft if it comes from savings (current bank charges $5.00 for that); and my mortgage (which used to be with Countrywide) is now with BoA, when BoA took over the company, so I could see all accounts in one place.

    My hesitation.... I really don't like Bank of America. Back when I was a credit card user, I had one with them, and they were awful. I don't like the big bonuses their people got, and I like the idea of a small local bank so much better. But, but, but -- they're offering me serious cash incentives to bank with them.

    If my current bank thanked me for being a customer once a year with a nice deposit of even $50.00, I'd stay with them. But I don't see that happening. I'm leaning towards leaving --- anyone have arguments to win me back to the local bank? 

  • No more dining out!

    I like to make pronouncements. It's easier for me to adopt or give up something altogether, rather than piecemeal. So my latest pronouncement is this: I'm not going out to eat anymore, unless I'm away from home and can't prepare something myself.

    I'm a vegetarian, so my dining out options are limited. I'm also a really good cook (well, I like my own cooking better than restaurant cooking). I like to cook, I really really enjoy it. And lastly -- why should I spend $7.00 for a salad, when I can make a better one for about $1.50?

    My final meal out cost me $20.00 - for an order of french fries (not very good and kind of burnt), an ear of corn on the cob (mediocre), a blah salad, and a really good dessert, plus tip. I would rather use that sawbuck for something special, so I was glad my farewell meal was only fair. 

    Now the challenge will be declining firmly but politely when friends invite me to go out to eat with them (not an everyday occurance, mind you, but once a month or so I probably get a local invitation to eat out). I love to entertain and will gladly host a big dinner party, but will hope I can get away with just saying "no thanks" to invites to meals away from home....

    Do other people refuse to eat out on economic grounds? 

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